As the marketplace has grown increasingly complex and turbulent, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of job openings now being filled by “intermediaries” of some sort — typically recruiting or staffing agencies that have developed special expertise in finding certain types of professionals and placing them with organizations facing an appropriate need.

There’s a great deal of confusion out there, however, about how exactly such firms work and the role that they should play in the job hunting efforts of the average professional.  For starters, many people still don’t fully understand the boundaries/distinctions between career coaching and outplacement firms, like my own, and those firms that bill themselves as recruiters, headhunters, or placement agencies.  They may also greatly overestimate their own “recruitability” or fall prey to certain organizations (thankfully, there aren’t many) that blur the lines and attempt to double-dip by taking fees directly from candidates, as well as from the employers who hire them.

So as time permits, over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some thoughts about this particular aspect of modern job hunting and how to approach it.  As a starting point, however, I’m excited to give special mention to five new recruiting firms I’ve recently uncovered here in the Puget Sound area that I feel deserve a little bit of extra recognition — since they each serve segments of the workforce that have been highly marginalized, to date.  In the years to come, I think we’ll be seeing even more of these types of firms opening up given the need for companies to get even more creative and resourceful in where they scout for talent.  So without further ado, let me introduce you to:

Mom Corps:  Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jamie Flynn, the new Regional Owner for Mom Corps, a recruiting firm that provides companies with “direct access to a previously untapped market segment of exceptional talent – professionals who have opted out of the traditional workplace.”  Simply put, the firm specializes in working with talented “moms” and “dads” (yes, men qualify too!) who have made the decision to stay home and raise kids, but who are also looking to continue their careers in some capacity through a flexible or part-time work arrangement.  It’s a great concept and one that a large number of clients of mine over the years have expressed interest in, given the struggle involved in deciding between (and balancing) career and family obligations.  So I wish Mom Corps all the best, hope their idea catches fire with tons of employers here in the area, and would encourage you to give Jamie a call if you fit the specific profile of candidate served by Mom Corps — or better yet, know an employer who might be open to accessing the firm’s talented and somewhat “novel” pool of candidates!

Eastside Employment Services, Trillium & Puget Sound Personnel:  These three specialized staffing firms all concentrate on providing career development and placement assistance for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Each organization works with both individual candidates and local employers alike to conceptualize, create, and fill job opportunities for this often-overlooked population of potential employees.  As the Trillium website puts it, they’ve set out to prove that “people with significant disabilities can participate fully in businesses producing quality products of a critical nature.”  And while there aren’t many Career Horizons clients who fit the unique profile of candidate served by these particular firms, it’s good to know they’re out there, promoting diversity and working to assist such folks and expand the horizons of local employers in this regard!

Hire America’s Heroes:  Lastly, while I suppose it’s not truly a recruiting firm, per se, I still wanted to showcase this special organization given its mission of “sharing and promoting sponsor corporations’ best practices and success strategies by which America’s military service members, upon transition from active duty, are welcomed into the corporate workforce.”  Translation?  A whole bunch of prominent Northwest employers (e.g. Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, etc.) have banded together to host events and engage in discussions to help returning military veterans transition over to jobs in the private sector.  And while the Hire America’s Heroes organization doesn’t appear to work with individual job seekers directly, at any level, if you yourself are a military veteran in transition — or happen to know one — you might want to stay close to this site, attend some of their upcoming events, and pay special attention to the employers who have pledged to give veterans extra consideration in their hiring efforts.

Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and in the very near future I’ll be showcasing a number of other more “mainstream” recruiting firms, as well as sharing some advice to help individual job seekers understand the recruiting/staffing sector more clearly and work with such firms in the most productive way possible.  Stay tuned!